Current Affairs Politics

Four Brexit Votes: UK Parliament Says No To Everything, Yes To Nothing

Following another night of parliamentary chaos in London I’m reminded of the (apocryphal) demand by King Henry II of England, complaining about his legal and political troubles with Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”. Or as the peoples of Europe might be thinking right now, “Will no one rid us of these turbulent Brits?”.

Faced with four motions to help the United Kingdom extricate itself from its self-made Brexit mess the House of Commons opted instead to choose none of the suggestions as party factions and cross-party factions rallied around their favoured amendments in a circus of legislative buffoonery. No side won, no proposal got through with majority backing and the whole event became an exercise in futility. In the end pretty much the only consistent thing in the Palace of Westminster was the stubborn refusal of the Democratic Unionist Party to support any deal, good, bad or indifferent, as the “guardians of the union” resorted to scorched earth politics in the absence of any better ideas. So, another night of farce mixed with tragedy, with the likelihood of the UK crashing from the European Union looming ever closer.

Where are some overeager knights when you need them?

21 comments on “Four Brexit Votes: UK Parliament Says No To Everything, Yes To Nothing

  1. The lamps are going out all over England, Seamas,
    We will not see them lit again in our lifetimes.
    The UK, as we have known it, is finished

  2. Dara O Rourke

    In a few years Brexit will be like the Iraq invasion. Nobody will admit to ever supporting it.

    • There are both politicians and ordinary people who will admit to supporting the Iraq invasion. Some will admit they made a terrible mistake by doing so, but still say all those who protested the war before or during are scum all the same.

  3. The DUP tradition of “Ulster says no to everything” has infected the rest of the British Parliament.

    People – we need to seriously start thinking about handling the fallout of no-deal on the Island of Ireland.

  4. This is what happens when you don’t have a functioning democracy.

    And it’s a country tooled up with nuclear weapons.

  5. “What happened this evening was members of the cabinet led by Philip Hammond, utterly in cahoots with backbenchers across the house, attempted to stop us leaving the EU. And if you’re listening, Mr Hammond, my fraternal message to you is: Up yours!”
    – Mark Francois: MP

  6. Henry II of Ireland, hence all the aggro.

  7. The Henry I’ve been hearing a lot about lately in terms of Brexit parallels isn’t Henry II. It’s Henry VIII.

    I have to say that the people writing about Brexit in terms of parallels to Tudor England with Henry VIII, come across as a lot more believable and frightening then those who are talking about a renewed British Empire of some kind.

    Partly this is because in the case of a renewed British Empire that’s an obvious non-starter. The Indian military alone is much larger than the UK’s, and by factors of 10X-20X on some metrics. And they are pretty tough disciplined soldiers. And Pakistan’s Army by most metrics has at least the power to give the British Empire a hard run for it’s money. Even African countries that they could outclass in terms of hardware and training would likely turn to a horrific quagmire if they tried. It really goes without saying that they aren’t going to be able to retrieve Hong Kong from the PRC, or reconquer some or all of the USA.

    As for making newer colonies out of very small, poor nations with few allies, that aren’t necessarily former colonies? Maybe, but even that’s likely to be a quagmire, a huge mess, and a bit of a joke compared to what they used to have.

    However the idea of Henry VIII and Tudor parallels is much, much more disturbing and much more believable as a model for how Britain could seriously harm/damage Ireland and the EU, experience extreme unrest and hardship within, and become an extremely destructive force on The World Stage all at once.

    By extreme hardship within the UK, I’m talking about a level of food shortage at least on par with the Twilight of the USSR and perhaps worse, along with much, much worse unrest than NI experienced during The Troubles with an outside chance of civil war. By Civil War I do mean one whose level of bloodshed MIGHT go to the levels associated with the Spanish, US, or Soviet Civil Wars, not the level of Ireland’s Civil War in the 1920’s.

    As for becoming an destructive force on The World Stage, I would say they are in a much stronger position to wreak global havoc now than they were in The Tudor Period-even if they self-destruct at the same time.

    • I think the Empire 2.0 thing, which began as a tongue-in-cheek shorthand among government officials for ministerial plans or ambitions for the UK to become some sort of global trading force, has been taken up by the Brexiteers as a real thing. A new mercantile empire, as reimagining of what they see as the old empire, forgetting the warships and cannons that forged the 1.0 version. That idea has grown legs in terms of territorial ambitions too. Or at least, muscle flexing viz “Northern Ireland” and notions of a “British Isles”.

  8. Breandán Mac Séarraigh

    Henri II caused the death of his former friend Thomas Beckett. Partly in compensation he formally invaded Ireland. This was partly to reign in the mercenaries he had already allowed go fight for the despised Diarmuid. It was also presented as a holy crusade to bring Ireland under the control of Mother Church, as commanded by pope Adrian IV in his (disputed) papal bull. Let’s hope the Brexiteers don’t get too hungry. Ireland has long been a source of food and ‘guest-workers’ for that country, as wee, in the past of cannon fodder, occupation forces and colonists. A hungry and humbled Britain will be a dangerous Britain. Schadenfreude is fun but how do we want Brexit to end?

    • Of course, smaller nations often have reason to be nervous when larger neighbors go down the tubes-even if the historical relationship was relatively good, and there is nothing vaguely like the NI situation.

      There’s is absolutely zero Schadenfreude in what I was writing. None. In fact, I’m terrified of the implication of Britain that might act as Tudor England did. I also don’t see most of the Irish population as particularly given to Schadenfreude, despite comedian Frankie Boyle’s sick, sick joke about Ireland and Brexit.

      My thinking is simply that Britain has made some horrible choices both recently and over a long period of time, and doesn’t have the political ability to do any real damage control, or any real self-correction.

      And not just in terms of lacking the political abilities for it, but the culture of England in particular just seems to have an extremely weak capacity to think about any kind of course correction. My experience with even very intelligent English people, is that they can tell you quite well what’s wrong with the NHS or their political or legal system, but they have little to say about what reforms might be an option. Getting them to say if they would or wouldn’t support any particular reform for their country and why is like pulling teeth.

      Of course, the Henry parallel theories (especially VIII) say that the English dislike for rules or written rules predated the Empire rather than being a result of it…….Which is a shame, because a written-codified constitution is EXACTLY what they need in order to rehabilitate their country from political discord, and a bad reputation internationally.

      As for Henry II, I always thought it was sad that the man killed his friend from childhood. “Becket” is one of my mother’s all-time favorite movies.

  9. Too right that Great Britain could be a dangerous weakened animal.

    As the Brexit chaos shows GB is prepared to drain it’s deepest vein, cause economic chaos, ruin its economy, ruin the Irish economy, and bring it to its knees – and all for what.

    An emergency government lies waiting in the wings with troops on standby. And Europe? Well if it does not resist the Uk menace just now, it will need to do so at some time in the future.

    This vile hatred needs confronted.

  10. Robert Peston reporting that Andrea Leadsom suggested imposing direct rule in Northern Ireland in the event of no deal but “calling it something else”.

  11. Peston reporting that Leadsom suggested imposing direct rule in Northern Ireland in the event of no deal but “calling it something else”.

  12. One ERG MP told Sky News: “This is serious stuff. She has fucked our party. She is fucking Brexit. She is fucking the country.”

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